WashU IT Project Methodology

People, Process, Tools

Methodology is a system of practices, techniques, procedures and rules used by people working in a discipline.  IT project methodology provides a fast-start tool kit for project teams, allowing repetition without reinvention of the project delivery process. Our project methodology provides guidance regarding:

  • People – common project team roles and responsibilities
  • Process – common activities and deliverable by project phase
  • Tools – a template library for interim project deliverables

Our methodology is a starting point; it is not a formula or a “cookbook”.  The Project Manager and team must choose the right tools for the specific project, and adapt as needed.  Some activities and deliverables are required.  Technology specialties determine their own standards and templates for interim project deliverables.

Methodology Layers

At Washington University, we embrace industry frameworks to accomplish project work.

  • Project Management (PMI) – our organization’s specific implementation and approach to project processes; the set of steps to manage a project
  • Organizational Change Management – our framework for managing the effect of new business process, systems and services on people within our institution, ensuring rapid adoption
  • Product Methodology – common activities, deliverables and methods used by technical resources to deliver an IT service, system or product
  • IT Service Management (ITIL) – activities ensuring a successful transition to operations


Project Lifecycle

A project is a temporary group of related tasks undertaken to create a unique project, service or result.  Project phases in our methodology are aligned to project management process groups:

  • Phases may be sequential, overlapping, iterative, or adaptive
  • Planning occurs in cycles rather than only up front … progressive elaboration

Phase gate reviews with sponsor/steering committee are required to request permission to move to the next phase.


When to use Project Methodology

At Washington University, project methodology must be used for IT efforts that have one or more of the following attributes:

Work Request Attribute

Criteria for Project Classification

Size One + month of work OR more than 50% of the service operations budget
Origin IT Strategic Governance
Cost Over $250K
Resources for Execution Requires coordination of multiple teams to execute work
New Technology New Technology implemented for the first time
High Risk Mission critical change; high / broad impact
High Visibility Work requires high visibility by senior leadership for architecture review, tracking progress, issues, risks, costs, etc.

People – The Project Team

A team is a group of people who come together to achieve a common goal.  Like a sports team or an orchestra, an IT project team is most effective when it has a shared vocabulary and understand the rules of the game, the boundaries of each role and how to work together interdependently and cooperatively.  A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of the individual team members.

Project Team

See the Project Methodology: People – The Project Team presentation for more information.

Process – PM Process and Approaches

The process used for projects draw from best practices in several areas. In putting the methodology together, the PPMO has created a map of common activities and common deliverables by project phase. While the methodology is a standard waterfall based on the PMBOK stages, it should be understood that there may be iterations at the various phases.

Methodology Maps

Tools – Project Template Library

Our templates are meant to be used as a starting point or guide. Each project will be different. The template will most likely need to be modified to suite your needs.

Visit our Assets and Template Library to download and utilize a variety of resources.

If you would like to provide a template to add to our library, email ppmo@wustl.edu.


Planview (formerly Innotas) is the portfolio and project management tool used to track WashU IT projects.

More about Planview

Additional Resources

There are many resources available for becoming a project management professional. Some of those resources include: